I hope this message finds you all well and in good spirits. I want to applaud you all for finding new ways to serve the communities in which you live and those abroad, fellowship, and fundraise as we navigate uncharted waters. Your willingness to take on the role of selfless service even amid such challenges as COVID-19 is why we are more than mere volunteers; we are Rotarians! Our theme for August is "Membership & New Club Development," and I would like to take a moment to highlight just what that means and why we should focus greatly on it.
Past Rotary International President, Rick King, once said, "It never entered my mind that day 41 years ago, when someone touched me and invited me to join something higher than self. Who made me a better husband, a better father, a better family member, made me a better lawyer, a better citizen, a better humanitarian. Who gave me the best friends in the world that anybody can have, the people in my club, who didn't even know my mother when she died, but all showed up at her funeral to support me. When that man came to my office and said "I'd like you to be part of Rotary," I did not know then that he was introducing me to the best people in the world, of every race, and religion, and color, and culture, and language, and ideology, and nationality."
In his quote, PRIP Rick is talking about the importance of camaraderie, an extension of the family, and the unconditional support of fellow Rotarians that has made his journey worth its weight in gold. He's talking about what it means to be a Rotarian and the benefits it offers. Membership is more than attending meetings, eating lunch, joining a Zoom, listening to a speaker, paying dues, and showing up to service projects. Membership is knowing that your fellow Rotarians genuinely care and are there when you need them the most. It's knowing that fellow Rotarians are by your side (with social distancing in mind), and working alongside you to accomplish great acts of service to benefit humanity. This is what I believe will retain our members and create vibrant clubs that will draw new members into Rotary. 
Here are a few action steps for Clubs:
  • Develop a plan for recruiting, retaining, and educating club members
  • Build a membership committee and make appointments for multiple years
  • Maintain open lines of communication between committee members and club leadership
  • Create membership goals in Rotary Club Central
  • Create a "No Member Left Behind" challenge (meaning find a way to keep members engaged, connected, and supported.
Here are a few actions steps for Members:
  • Call a member you haven't spoken to in a while
  • Find a way to support a members business or professional endeavors
  • Have a virtual happy hour (perhaps with a round of bingo)
  • Plan a trip post-COVID
  • Reach out to an inactive member and let them know their help is needed
New Club Development
The organization of new clubs is vital to our District and Rotary's growth as an organization. Starting new Rotary clubs increases our ability to improve lives in communities around the world. In the world of Rotary today, we have many different club models to choose from:
  • Traditional Rotary Clubs - Professionals and aspiring leaders who meet regularly for services, connections, and personal growth.
  • Satellite Clubs - A Rotary club sponsored by a traditional club but with its own meetings, projects, bylaws, and board.
  • E-Club - A Rotary club that meets primarily online.
  • Passport Club - A Rotary Club that allows members to attend other Rotary club meetings as long as they attend a specified number of meetings in their own club each year.
  • Corporate Club - A club whose members (or most of them) work for the same employer.
  • Caused-Based Club - A club whose members are passionate about a particular cause and focus their service efforts in that area.
  • Alumni-Based Club - A club whose members (or most of them) are former Rotary or Rotary Foundation program participants.
  • Rotaract Club - A club members 18 & up that is sponsored by a Rotary club and often works with that club on projects.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless when it comes to new club development. Right now, in our district, we are working on developing two new Rotary clubs:
  • Veterans Rotary Club
  • Rotary eClub of Equity and Justice
If you know of any prospective members who would be great fits for both, please email clubdevelopment@rotary5840.org.